Some have detected an inconsistency between the widespread support for Opera Australia and La Monnaie in Brussels when they fired a singer for apparent homophobic comments, and the condemnation of the Toronto Symphony, which sacked a pianist for her Twitter campaign against the Ukrainian government.
What’s the difference?
Valentina Lisitsa had launched a Twitter campaign as a vehicle for Kremlin propaganda. Many were upset by her comments, at safe distance and without diminishing their appreciation for her artistry. Then, a small Canadian lobby group protested to the TSO. The TSO caved in to pressure. Wrong.
Tamar Iveri, the Georgian singer, allowed her Facebook page to host ugly and violent homophobic comments (she later ascribed them to her husband). Iveri was about to sing at the Sydney Opera House, where some of her colleagues happened to be gay and were directly, personally offended by her remarks, as were many others. The Sydney Opera took several days before deciding to remove her from the production. It did so in order to protect the production, the safety of its participants and the general tide of public opinion. It acted in a practical, rather an a political sense, and was right to do so.
When an artist constitutes a risk to others, the artist – like any other employee – must be asked to leave.
Lisitsa presented no risk to anyone’s safety.
There’s the difference.